Despite diminishing playing time, Brandon Bass soldiers on

If you have wondered, “Where is Brandon Bass?” this season, you are not alone. After posting a career year in 2013-14 in which he played all 82 games and started 73 of them, Bass has seen his playing time drop significantly in year two of the Great Celtics Rebuild.

It’s something you’ve noticed. It’s something we’ve noticed. It’s something Bass has noticed… it’s just not something that is effecting him.

At least on the outside.

Brandon Bass-- who last year won the Red Auerbach Award for representing what it means to be a Celtic both on and off the court-- is a professional athlete with as much emphasis as possible going on professional. He shows up, he works, he goes home. The rest, as it always has for Bass, will take care of itself.

"I think it’s just my job to control what I can control, and what I can control is how hard I work and how much I improve every day."

"If I lived like a man under a rock, y’all would know about it. I would express myself in a way such as a man that lives under a rock. But since I don’t live like that, I know better.

"Like I said earlier, I just control what I can control and just try to look at everything as a blessing. This is my 10th season. I done seen a lot. Some people don’t even get to go through what I’ve gone through in my career, so I look at something good out of everything, you know what I’m saying?"

That is where Brandon Bass finds himself; a man living under a rock and a hard place.

These statements made yesterday in Waltham stymied reporters in the best possible way. That is a statement that BEGS for clarification. Clarification that the Celtics forward didn’t really care to get into. It is not really all that surprising-- the kid just works. It is that ethic and approach to his craft that has endeared him to his teammates and coaching staff alike. In a season with so much left to go, so much uncertainty already cast, and so many more pieces to fall in place, the attitude of “show up. work hard. go home” must seem like a gift from the basketball gods.

The effort Bass is putting in is not lost on his coach.

“Bass has played less since the trade, and he's been phenomenal. And you see [Bass] now, he comes to work, he does the same thing every single day. It's a challenge, but we try to be as proactive as we can."

"It's tough," Stevens said. "It's going to take a lot of sacrifice on guys' part, to be honest. There's going to be a solid rotation-level player or two that will not be playing, simply as a result of numbers. That's a difficult thing, especially when you're not winning. We haven't won a game in the last four, that's a challenge."

Asked how his players have responded to that possibility, Stevens said, "They've been pretty good. I'm trying to be as proactive as I can in those discussions. But I think one of the main reasons they've been really good is that some of our older guys are so good about it.”

At 29 years old and 10 years in the league, Brandon Bass is a consistent, healthy, contributing member on a rebuilding team. In the past he has been a contributing member to a competing Celtics team, and before that was a contributing member to a championship level team. Brandon Bass is workhorse-- so why isn’t anyone having him do more work?

Bass is in the unfortunate position of being a solid worker that can help a team achieve it’s goals. Does that phrase describe the 2014-15 Boston Celtics? No-- it doesn’t. This a team with logjams in both it’s front and back court using this year to figure out who and what they are going to be going forward. This season is dedicating to figuring out who is here for the future, and what new model the Celtics franchise will form. Right now, they’re looking at finding big men who are effective from beyond the arc and can create plays through moving the ball. That’s not necessarily what Bass does best and therein lies the problem. Despite limited playing time, a role that’s getting smaller and smaller by the day, and the ever present cloud of uncertainty hanging over the Celtics bench, Brandon Bass shows up to work.

Here’s the kicker-- not even complaining about his spot.

"I’ve got so many things going on in my head. But it has helped me, I would just say that, in a variety of different ways. On the court and off the court, just to be faced with adversity and be able to keep going. You know what I’m saying? Because a lot of people lay down in cases like this. That just ain’t me.”

“We haven’t talked about it," he said. "We don’t necessarily have to talk about it. Things are what they are. I just have to control what I can control.”

Isn’t this the type of attitude and effort that should be rewarded with minutes?

Brandon Bass will be a free agent next year and more than likely his time with the Celtics will end this summer, if not sooner. As the C’s figure out where they fit within the NBA landscape, Bass will more than likely be contributing elsewhere on a team that could use a solid rotation player that can add stability, energy, and consistency to the floor. I mean, c’mon… what team doesn’t need a guy like that?

Before too long (fingers crossed), the Celtics will return to the form fans had grown accustomed to during the second coming of The Big Three Era. Danny Ainge has amassed a war chest of assets and picks that will turn into something special. It’s only a matter of time before the C’s will know exactly who they are and exactly what they need to support the team they want to be. When that day does come, they will be in need of hard workers who show up and do all that is asked of them and more without complaining or asking for anything more than opportunity.

You know-- a Brandon Bass type.

Follow Padraic O'Connor on Twitter @padraic_oconnor


Jay King; MassLive, A. Sherrod Blakely;, Chris Forsberg; ESPN

Photo: AP